Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | police | dogs | killed | militarization | tactics

Lawyer Rosenthal: Cops Are Killing Household Dogs With Impunity

By    |   Tuesday, 15 July 2014 05:52 PM

Police officers serving warrants and searching homes are shooting and killing household dogs at an alarming rate across the country, but are rarely prosecuted or even investigated for a violent act that leaves pet owners devastated, a lawyer told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"It's even worse than, 'We're doing our job.' It's 'We don't care,' " New York criminal defense attorney Richard Bruce Rosenthal told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "They see it as just an animal, just as a piece of property."

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A spate of recent dog killings by officers has drawn attention to how local law enforcement agencies handle the presence of domesticated pets in the course of their duties.

In Baltimore, a city police officer is facing charges for slitting the throat of a Shar-Pei that had bitten somebody but was restrained when the officer allegedly killed it, the Daily Mail reports.

Colorado passed a "Dog Protection Act" in 2013 to help reduce fatal animal shootings by police, the Huffington Post reports.

But Rosenthal said that by and large when a search warrant is issued, "Most police departments have no procedure in place — and no plans — to deal with the possibility of dogs being present, other than to kill them."

Rosenthal also said dogs are becoming casualties of an increasingly militarized, fear-based approach to policing.

"When I was much younger, there was a very different view of police," said Rosenthal.

"The police were someone you went to for help when there was a problem. You didn't fear the police. Nowadays, one needs to be afraid of the police, and it's a horrible, horrible way for this country to become."

Rosenthal acknowledged that some dogs are trained by their owners to be vicious. But he said police are shooting dogs as a first resort, even when they pose little or no threat, or when a dog — feeling threatened itself — acts protectively.

"Our law does recognize that a dog has a right to be safe and to be secure in his property," said Rosenthal. "When a police officer — or anyone, for that matter — trespasses, to then suggest that they're justified in killing the dog because the dog was not all warm and cuddly and friendly really stretches the point."

Rosenthal said the killings will stop "only when more and more of the families that have been abused this way start suing and the courts start issuing large judgments against municipalities."

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Police officers serving warrants and searching homes are shooting and killing household dogs at an alarming rate across the country, but are rarely prosecuted or even investigated for a violent act that leaves pet owners devastated, a lawyer told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
police, dogs, killed, militarization, tactics
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2014-52-15
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 05:52 PM
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